Election Lessons – Fear Sells. Are You Buying?


Fear Sells

There is absolutely zero doubt about this. For years, one of the unwritten rules in advertising was ‘sex sells’. And it did, for everything from beer to shampoo. However, as society rejects the objectification of women and men, sex has been replaced by fear as the most potent advertising tool.

A piece in BigThink explains it this way:

Yup. Fear works. It has to. It’s what keeps us alive. The problem is, it works so instinctively that when dangers are being peddled by the news media to get our attention, by the marketplace to get our money, or by politicians to get our votes, we are little more than fish on the end of a hook, instinctively afraid and flipping and flopping with fear at the end of a line somebody else is dangling to jerk us around…and the instinctive, subconscious nature of this risk perception system are the rod and reel they’re using, and we really can’t too much about it.

Fear is a primal human emotion. While what’s sexy is open for debate and subjective to personal preferences, fear is something that everyone experiences. It’s also something everyone wants to avoid.

In the very first episode of Mad Men, Don Draper explains the use of fear in advertising. “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness,” he calmly tells his clients. “And do you know what happiness is? … It’s freedom from fear.”

The problem with fear is that it overpowers all rational thought. It can easily become a prison, keeping you from taking action. It’s also capable of forcing you to operate from a position of weakness.

The Politics Of Fear

The 2016 election in the United States was a dumpster fire atop a steaming pile of garbage. There is little doubt that it was the worst election I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Candidates across the spectrum campaigned on dystopian promises of loss, economic calamity, and even death if the ‘other guy’ won.

This fear has carried through the election and into peoples’ response to the results. Yes, there are possibilities that definitely warrant concern, particularly for marginalized groups. Yet society cannot allow the fear of what may happen to direct how we respond.

What’s Next

One of my favorite things from The West Wing is President Bartlet’s constant demand of “What’s next?”.  It’s the view of accepting how things are, even in seemingly dark times. It is also forward looking, demanding his people take action and create solutions instead of being distraught or paralyzed by how things currently are.

It’s ok to be afraid. Own your emotional state, whether it’s anger, fear, or sadness, it’s yours and it’s authentic.

Just don’t live there.

Refuse to be a prisoner to your emotions. Don’t let your emotions diminish your inner power. Reject the fear based advertising, whether in politics, news, or consumerism. Simply embrace the awesomeness is you, and face life head on.

The world is looking for leaders, so be one. Be the first one to charge the hill and others will follow. In times of great distress, leadership is better than gold.

Growth Should Inspire You, Not Frighten You


Personal growth is a scary thing. It means leaving behind a comfortable life and stepping into the unknown. Growth leaves behind the average and known and requires you to step out in faith that all will work out. You know where you are and where you want to be. It’s that space in between that can be terrifying.



Like most people you have dreams and goals, yet you lack the plans on how to get from A to B. That’s ok. It’s perfectly normal. The trick is to be inspired by the possibility of great accomplishments rather than be terrified by the possibility of failure. As Tony Robbins says:

The question becomes, then, which thoughts are you going to let drive your growth?

Will you let little thoughts of fear and failure keep you stuck where you are? Or will you let little thoughts of how great your life can be inspire you to move forward?

How can you keep the fear at bay? It’s actually pretty simple.

  1. Immerse Yourself In Personal Development
    Books, podcasts, videos…the internet is chock full of healthy, inspirational, and motivational material you can feed your mind with. Find speakers and authors who speak to you and devour all you can. By feeding your mind positive, uplifting information, you’ll find that your excitement for the future grows while fear shrinks.
  2. Build A Vision Board
    The best way to create your future is to visualize it every day. A vision board is the perfect way to do it. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, just make it meaningful to you. I have a vision board created on a $1 piece of posterboard in my office. It has pictures of where I want to live, where I want to visit, the car I want to drive, the service I want to provide, etc. Do it and put it someplace you’ll see it multiple times a day.
  3. Surround Yourself With People On The Same Mission
    You are a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with. If the people you’re surrounding yourself aren’t motivating and inspiring you, it’s time to find a new crowd. Odds are you’ll also find a mentor or two this way…for when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
  4. Do The Things You Want To Do
    Take the car you dream of on a test drive. Go find a model of the house you want and walk through it. Take a vacation or visit a place similar to where you want to end up. The more senses you involve in your dreams, the higher your vibration, and the stronger you’ll attract it to you.

You owe it to the world to share your gifts and talents. Others may have similar gifts, but nobody is going to express them the same way you do. Keeping the awesomeness that is you all to yourself is the most selfish thing you can do.